Ee-ish-soo-ilth by Ron Hamilton

Ee-ish-soo-ilth is a print from famed Hupačasath Nuu-chah-nulth researcher, educator, and artist ḥaa'yuups Ron Hamilton. It is an early work from Ron, and among the first Nuu-chah-nulth printed works. Ee-ish-soo-ilth measures 11 1/2" x 12 1/4", and is from a limited run of 120 printed circa 1973.

Ee-ish-soo-ilth, or Gum Woman, is a fable told to Nuu-chah-nulth children to instill discipline. It warns of a monstrous witch of the woods who captures and eats children, similar to the Kwakwaka'wakw myth of Dzunukwa (Basket Woman). The story also stresses to adult community members the importance of caring for children -- if children are harmed, lost, captured by Gum Woman, the traditions and ceremonies important to the continuation of life and culture will not be maintained. The legend, as told by Hupacasath elders, is as follows:

"There was a time long ago that there was a community that had children that went missing.

At this point in the story I would like to mention that there was this woman who went down to the beach every day to cry over her only son who went missing.

No one knew what was happening to the children that went missing. As the woman sat alone on the beach crying, she threw the mucus from her nose onto the sand beside her and it turned into a young man.

“What are you crying about?” said the young man to the woman. “I am crying because my child is missing,” she replied.

The young man prepared himself to go out and look for the missing children. He brought his bow and

He walked a long way up the mountain.

The young man came across a pond and then heard heavy footsteps coming his way so he climbed up a tree to hide. It was the gum woman that he saw

The young man spied on her and looked down from the tree into the pond.

The gum woman stopped and looked into the pond.

The gum woman was looking into the pond, admiring herself and stroking her face thinking it was her own reflection, but it was the young man’s.

The gum woman moved her head back and forth and the young man followed her movements, then he
moved his head the opposite direction from her. That’s when she realised it wasn’t her own reflection.

The gum woman asked the young man, “Who are you and how did you become so handsome?”

“Do you want to get pretty?” said the young man.

“Yes I want to get pretty” said %i%is^su%i>. “I can help you,” said the young man.

He told her to look for a big rock, and she brought it to him.

“Yes! Now go find another rock,” he said.

She brought another rock and the young man told her to put her head down on it.

The gum woman believed him and put her head down on the rock.

The young man picked up the second rock and smashed her head between the two rocks.

The gum woman turned into gum between the two rocks.

The young man ran and started to look for the missing children. He saw a cave, and this is where he found the children.

The children were tied high up in the cave and they had gum in their eyes so they could not see.

He untied the children and took the gum out of their eyes, and they all ran home."

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